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Hertha Ayrton (Portsea, 1854 - Bexhill-on-Sea 1923) was a British engineer, mathematician, physicist and inventor. She won the Hughes Medal from the Royal Society for her studies on electric arcs and the formation of ripples in dunes and ocean waves. The Board of the Royal Society rejected her application for membership because she was a married woman. Nonetheless, in 1904 she became the first woman to read a paper before the Royal Society.